In the summer of 1984, my BFF, Carrie, convinced me to go on a blind double date with her cousin, Walker, and his friend Bobb. We went to a local park, cranked up some tunes, played Frisbee, and had a beer or, ahem, two, while we all got to know each other. I was sitting on the hood of Carrie’s parents’ Monte Carlo when Walker strolled up, turned his baseball cap backward, and tried to kiss me. I didn’t let him, but he asked me out again anyway. The four of us hung out together for the next several weeks. Somewhere along the line Carrie and Bobb parted ways, so Walker and I drifted apart, too. Then Carrie started dating Walker’s friend Bill, and we became a (slightly altered) foursome once again. Over the next few months, Carrie worked her way through several of Walker’s friends. She even gave Bobb another shot. I guess if I had been paying attention, I might have thought to question that, but as it was, I just enjoyed the moment, never realizing that Walker was orchestrating the whole thing so he could spend more time with me. Eventually, though, he ran out of eligible friends, and for some reason, never asked for a one-on-one date. Well, at least not until nineteen years later.
Carrie’s baby sister, all grown up and getting married, invited me to her wedding. I almost declined, as my mom and I were flying home just a few days prior, after spending a couple weeks touring Alaska. I figured I’d be worn out and have a lot of catching up to do at home, and nearly RSVP’d my regrets, but, then, I really didn’t want to miss Angie’s big day, so I went. So did Walker. We’ve been together ever since. Over the past ten years we’ve had our share of ups and downs. There were times I didn’t think we’d make it another week, and honestly, there were times I wasn’t sure I wanted to. I’m willing to bet Walker had those moments, too, though he’s too much the gentleman to admit it. He has been with me through some of the worst days of my life, and some of the best. He has given me a second family, and he has given my family whatever they needed, without reservation. He’s looked after my friends as if he’s known them forever. He’s looked after my Diva like she was his own. Happy Anniversary, Walker. I love you.